The speed of zipping off an email has made it the preferred method of communication. Whether you send a personal or business email, following proper etiquette is essential to prevent miscommunication or hard feelings.
Keep the Golden Rule in mind and treat the recipient as you would want to be treated. Before you click “send” on any email take a minute and give it an extra read-through. Effective use of email can put you in a positive light with your supervisor and may even give you an edge when it's time for a promotion.
1. Don't assume privacy.Keep in mind that your company and personal email may not be private. Your company has the right to read anything sent from the office, so never write and send personal or highly sensitive information from work. Personal email from home may be forwarded, so don’t put anything in writing that could cause a problem if it reaches the wrong person.
2. Stay away from offensive comments.Avoid offensive comments in your email. This includes racist, sexist, or negative remarks about another person or company. If you receive an offensive email, don’t reply or forward it to anyone.
3. Don't shout.Remember that when you type in all caps, your email comes across as shouting. Some people think it makes their message easier to read, but that isn’t the case. Use a font that is easy on the eyes when read in standard case letters.
4. Edit your messages.Edit your emails before you send them. Use spellchecker and go over all business emails to make sure you have proper grammar. You always want to present yourself as a professional in correspondence. Check personal email after you finish writing it to make sure it gets your intended point across. Dropping a single word can change the meaning of a sentence.
5. Reply with caution.
Know the proper way to reply to emails you receive. Pay close attention to the sender and the others in the “to” and “cc” fields. Respond as quickly as possible rather than let your “saved” folder become too cluttered.
Avoid the urge to hit “reply all” before looking to see who is listed in the header. Your response may confuse others on the list, or you might wind up sending unnecessary information to people you don’t know. The only time you should click “reply all” is if you are sure everyone needs the information you are sending.
6. Familiarize yourself with email tools.
Know the tools and types of email. This includes “to,” “cc,” “bcc,” and subject lines. The main recipient should be in the “to” field. When you need to copy someone, you would normally add that person to the “cc” or carbon copy field. If someone needs to be copied without the others on the list receiving his or her email, use “bcc” or blind carbon copy. Only copy people who need to know the information you are sending.
Never forward chain emails. These can become cumbersome and clog people’s email boxes to the point of annoyance. You don’t want to become the person who forwards messages that may or may not be true.
You should always fill in the subject line for a business related email, and it is preferred in personal email. Keep the subject line as short as possible and only have one topic per mailing.